On Friday 23rd November, the restored 16th century historic archway at Scone Palace was unveiled by William Murray, Master of Stormont, more than two years after it was destroyed by a workman's van.
The project to restore the archway has taken a team of conservationists and stonemasons more than two years.
The iconic symbol, which was all that remained of the approach to the Augustinian Abbey which once stood on the Palace lawns, was hit by a van being driven by contractors who were on site to pick up a marquee used at an event.
The central armorial panels, of historic importance, were damaged beyond repair when it was hit by the vehicle — with one thrown more than 15 metres on to the palace lawns
Experts warned at the time that repairing the intricate stone monument would be akin to completing the ''world's largest jigsaw puzzle''
The initial phase of work to make the archway safe and to sift, record and rearrange each fragment of the wreckage took place in October 2010. The team carrying out this work was led by conservation architects James F Stephen of Glamis. Other specialists included John Addison of Addison Conservation & Design, Midlothian and Perth-based T&M Stonemasonry. All of the companies had significant past experience of working on heritage projects.
Additional support and assistance was received from agencies including Historic Scotland’s conservation team and Perth & Kinross Planning Department (Conservation).
Following this initial remedial work a contract went out to tender to specialist masonry and building companies earlier this year.
On completion of the tender process, local company W L Watson & Sons, St Andrews was appointed to carry out the re-building work. Edinburgh-based sculptor Graciela Ainsworth was tasked with restoring the stone carvings which were such an iconic feature of the arch.
The contractors were appointed in early 2012 and the full restoration project, which began in April, was completed in late October.
As well as the intricate work required to rebuild the archway, stonemasons and sculptors had to use drawings and plaster cast models to painstakingly recreate carvings from the archway’s original central heraldic panels, which were such an iconic feature of the structure.
Unveiling the completed archway for the first time, William Murray, Master of Stormont said: “I am absolutely delighted that such an important piece of Scottish history has now been successfully restored to its former glory.
''It was imperative to us that the archway matched the original and the techniques used to rebuild it were therefore the same as those used back in the 16th century. Two years of painstaking and intricate work have been required, but my family and I are thrilled with the results. We would like to extend our grateful thanks to the entire restoration team for bringing their unique skills and expertise to the project and helping to ensure that Scone’s historic archway stands proud for many more centuries”.
Members of the public will be able to view the archway during special extended winter opening hours, which see the Palace grounds, Coffee Shop and Food Shop remaining open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout November and December from 10.00am – 4.00pm.
Further information from Gillian Harrower, Tourism and Leisure Solutions, Tel. 01333 439683, E: firstname.lastname@example.org